If same-sex marriage becomes legal in the UK, and a future monarch of the country was (openly) gay, and had a child in wedlock, should that child inherit the throne?
This, essentially, is the conundrum which was being debated by British lawmakers yesterday.According to The Daily Telegraph, under the 18th Century laws governing the succession, only an “heir to the body” can succeed, and the paper says the "phrase was intended to mean direct biological descendents of the monarch."
But then again, they didn't really have AI, surrogacy and cloning to contend with back then, did they?
Lord True, a Conservative peer, proposed changes to the Bill currently being finalised which will allow a first-born daughter to take the throne, that would explicitly define an heir to the body as the product of a heterosexual marriage.
Lord True told the Daily Telegraph he was not opposed to gay marriage, but believes that Royal laws should be updated to take account of it.He said: “What happens if we have a lesbian queen in a same-sex marriage who conceives using an egg implanted with donor sperm? The law should be clear, but this is a question that has not been thought through in the Bill.”Lord Wallace of Tankerness, a Government law officer, told the Lords that after "much thought" that ministers had decided no change to the Bill is required.
In response, Lord True agreed to withdraw his amendment, but said he remained “troubled” by the questions raised by same-sex marriage laws.If same-sex marriage becomes widespread, the current common law position on the succession could well be challenged in future, he told Lord Wallace.
Of course it will, and it should be resolved now.